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9 Italian E-books for Learners of All Levels

If you don’t like lugging books around with you, there’s even better news for bibliophiles: You can access your books on the go as digital files.

E-books are perfect mobile learning tools that can make your Italian studies easy and convenient.

We’ve rounded up nine of the best Italian e-books for learning, from instructional manuals for beginners to Italian-language classics for more advanced students—and everything in between.

Contents

10 Italian E-books for On-the-Go Language Lessons

1. “Italian Quickly!” by Language Master

Italian Quickly!: The Ultimate Italian Learning Book for Beginners

An e-book to learn basic Italian? That’s a definite on-the-go reading superstar!

Get your first taste of Italian with this instructional e-book, which explains the basics of conversation, how to form sentences, key phrases for getting around in Italy and more.

It’s not meant to be a thorough guide, but rather to get you started: Use this book if you’re beginning completely from scratch and want a solid foundation to the language that you can build on with other resources.

2. “Short Stories in Italian for Beginners” by Olly Richards Short Stories in Italian by Olly Richards cover

Short stories are great for mobile reading. They’re small bites of entertainment and even if you’ve got a chaotic schedule, chances are, you can find time to squeeze in a story.

The eight fast, fun stories in this book were written specifically for learners who are just starting out on their Italian journey. Each story is further broken down into chapters, making them even more manageable for readers to tackle on the go.

The stories are of varied genres, from science fiction to crime and thriller, which means you won’t get bored! Although there are no definitions within the text (to prevent readers from relying too heavily on them), each story contains bolded words that are defined at the end of the chapters.

Each chapter also has a plot summary and a few comprehension questions to make sure you really understood what you read.

The author, Olly Richards, speaks eight languages and keeps a blog about language learning. If you enjoy the book, check out his website called StoryLearning

3. “Italian Short Stories for Intermediate Learners” by Olly Richards Short Stories in Italian by Olly Richards cover

This is another compilation of amusing tales from Olly Richards, the language learning pro.

It’s set up in the same way as the beginner short story collection, but this time the language is a bit more advanced. The stories use varied tenses and complex grammatical structures that are meant to test and challenge readers at the intermediate level.

His books are not only entertaining resources, but they have fun covers, too!

4. “Italian Reader: Short Stories with Parallel Text” by Alex KouzineItalian Reader: Short Stories (English-Italian Parallel Text): Elementary to Intermediate (A2-B1)

Parallel text language books great learning tools since there’s no need to keep a translation app or dictionary at hand. The text is given both in English and Italian, so if you’re stuck on a word or phrase, just read the corresponding English line.

Avoid the pitfall of relying on the translation, though! When you read these, try to understand the text on your own before you give in and check the meaning.

This reader offers elementary to intermediate stories. There are five mini-stories at the beginning, intended to prepare readers to tackle the actual stories.

The volume contains 16 stories by some renowned authors. Works from O Henry, W.S. Maugham and others are translated into Italian and presented side-by-side with the English version. Each English paragraph is followed up by the Italian version, meaning you can read some classic, well-loved stories in both languages.

Honestly, I’ve read this more than once—and loved it every time!

5. “Non puoi essere tu” (“You Cannot Be You”) by Sonia OgnibeneNon puoi essere tu: An Italian story of mystery for Italian A2-B1 level learners (Learning Easy Italian Vol. 1) (Italian Edition)

Mystery lovers, here’s one for you!

This modern mystery story is perfect for short, fast reading and has received excellent reviews.

The plot is intriguing: One evening, Frederica finds the face of her dead friend in some Facebook vacation photos. How could this be? Get pulled into the mystery and learn Italian at the same time!

This story is written for learning easy Italian and aimed at level A2-B1 learners (as explained in the Common European Framework for Reference of Languages).

6. “Learn Italian with Short Stories” by Emilio de MarchiLearn Italian with Short Stories: Interlinear Italian to English (Learn Italian with Interlinear Stories for Beginners and Advanced Readers Book 2)

This volume of short stories by the classic 19th-century Italian author Emilio de Marchi features interlinear text, which means that the translation is instantly available.

Each sentence is translated word-for-word into English directly under the Italian, so you can enjoy the stories and learn at the same time.

Having translations at hand is a great benefit for beginners, but it’s also useful for advanced readers. I mean, we all need to look up a word’s meaning sometimes—even in our native languages!

Gripping stories written by an author of authentic classic Italian works is a super addition to any Italian reading program. This one is part of a series, so you can check out the other titles as well. 

7. “Harry Potter e la pietra filosofale” (“Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone”) by J.K. Rowling, Translated by Marina AstrologoHarry Potter e la Pietra Filosofale (Italian Edition)

Harry Potter fans will love this Italian translation! Like its English counterpart, it’s perfect for both intermediate and advanced readers.

The story is familiar to many, which is a great help, too. Often, if a reader has an idea of what’s going on in the plot, figuring out a random unfamiliar word or phrase is simply a matter of deduction.

Just remember not to get confused by made-up in-universe words like “muggle” and “Quidditch”—words that you might find in a dictionary (because Harry Potter is that influential!) but probably don’t need to know on a day-to-day basis.

8. “L’amica geniale” (“My Brilliant Friend”) by Elena FerranteL'amica geniale (Italian Edition)

Elena Ferrante is an Italian novelist whose work includes four New York Times bestsellers. She’s highly regarded in the literary world and this four-volume series, The Neapolitan Novels, has gotten rave reviews and is even being adapted as an HBO series.

“L’amica geniale” is the first book in the series. I read the first one and moved right on to the next! It’s perfect for more advanced learners who want to try their hand on some authentic reading, written in Italian and meant for Italian readers.

Set in 1950s Naples, this is a story of frienship, family, love and an entire era. Besides learning Italian, this series also gives you a glimpse into life in Italy in the mid-1900s and brings the history and culture to life through its characters.

No one actually knows who Elena Ferrante is, as this is a pseudonym, and there’s been speculation about the author’s identity for years. Whoever this is, he or she is writing excellent fiction. It’s entertaining and perfect for leisurely language learning!

9. “Il nome della rosa” (“The Name of the Rose”) by Umberto Eco Il nome della rosa The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco

Umberto Eco’s “Il nome della rosa” is stellar in any language! In Italian, this best-seller from a literary giant reads like a masterpiece.

A curious, Sherlock-Holmsian monk is called upon to investigate suspected heresy in an abbey in 1327. The story that unfolds is gripping and offers a view of old beliefs, some history and a number of very memorable characters and scenes.

I have to admit, I have it in paperback as well as in e-book form! It’s a wonderful addition to any library, digital or not. It’s also quite a challenge, suitable for advanced readers looking to push their Italian that one final step towards fluency.

Read it, then watch the awesome Sean Connery and Christian Slater movie to see how well you understood the text! (And because come on. It’s Sean Connery.)

Where to Find Free Italian E-books

If you’re still undecided about choosing your first Italian e-book, why not check out a few spots that offer free e-books? Maybe you’ll find something that speaks to you—and the price is right, too.

  • BookRix has a solid selection of Italian language e-books which vary in length and difficulty, so there’s something for everyone.
  • Project Gutenberg is unrivaled when it comes to snagging some free literature. The site is loaded with Italian options so be prepared to face some hard decisions about what public domain work you’ll want to read first!

How to Learn Italian with E-books

Before you start binge-reading, there are a couple of things to keep in mind when you choose e-books as part of your language learning program.

They should be level-appropriate

If you’re a beginner, choose books with basic vocabulary that’s familiar to you. This sounds obvious, but surprisingly, many learners are prone to choosing study resources that don’t sync with their current level.

Intermediate and advanced learners should seek out more complicated text. Intermediate learners in particular should be careful when filtering through their options. Different books can have differing perspectives on what constitutes “intermediate fluency.”

The writing should be challenging but not discouraging

If the book you choose is too difficult, you won’t want to read it. If it’s too easy, you won’t learn anything.

You should be able to tell pretty quickly when a book isn’t quite matching your level. The first few pages will provide enough hints. You can try to truck ahead to see if you can handle it, but don’t force yourself when things become too challenging.

So choose appropriately! And don’t forget to upgrade as your skills increase.

Read actively, not passively

You might be tempted to read just for the fun of it, especially if it’s a great book. But remember that this is part of your learning process!

Reading Italian text provides you with many opportunities to see grammar rules and vocabulary used in context. Pay attention to unfamiliar phrases or any grammar points you might be wrestling with. Sometimes seeing these things in action clears up lingering questions.

Better yet, see if you can listen along to the Italian while you read. This can be accomplished with accompanying Italian audiobooks, but there are also a wealth of resources for listening to authentic Italian.

For example, you could try watching Italian movies with subtitles, or you could also try using the FluentU program.

FluentU takes authentic videos—like music videos, movie trailers, news and inspiring talks—and turns them into personalized language learning lessons.

You can try FluentU for free for 2 weeks. Check out the website or download the iOS app or Android app.

P.S. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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Enjoy!

Italian e-books are a multi-purpose tool: they teach and entertain all at once. This is an opportunity to learn and have fun at the same time!

Even if you’re not a bookworm, you can still find e-books as engaging as they are convenient. If a book doesn’t appeal to you, then you don’t have to stick with it. Search for another one that suits you better.

Remember: Start at your skill level, and move up from there.

With so many excellent options to read in this amazingly beautiful language, you’ll increase your language skills before you know it!

And One More Thing...

If you're as busy as most of us, you don't always have time for lengthy language lessons. The solution? FluentU!

Learn Italian with funny commericals, documentary excerpts and web series, as you can see here:

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FluentU helps you get comfortable with everyday Italian by combining all the benefits of complete immersion and native-level conversations with interactive subtitles. Tap on any word to instantly see an image, in-context definition, example sentences and other videos in which the word is used.

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Access a complete interactive transcript of every video under the Dialogue tab, and review words and phrases with convenient audio clips under Vocab.

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Once you've watched a video, you can use FluentU's quizzes to actively practice all the vocabulary in that video. Swipe left or right to see more examples of the word you’re on.

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FluentU will even keep track of all the Italian words you’re learning, and give you extra practice with difficult words. Plus, it'll tell you exactly when it's time for review. Now that's a 100% personalized experience!

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Start using the FluentU website on your computer or tablet or, better yet, download the FluentU app from the iTunes or Google Play store. Click here to take advantage of our current sale! (Expires at the end of this month.)

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